Taylor Swift Wrote the Song ‘Out of the Woods’ While ‘on a Plane’

In 2014, Taylor Swift released her acclaimed album 1989. The singer-songwriter went on to win Album of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Album at the 2016 Grammy Awards for the album. In a 2015 listening session with Grammy Pro, Swift revealed details about the making of 1989, and it turns out she recorded the first version of “Out of the Woods” while traveling “on a plane.”

Taylor Swift attends the 'All Too Well' short film premiere
Taylor Swift | Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

Taylor Swift made ‘Out of the Woods’ with Jack Antonoff

Swift co-wrote and co-produced “Out of the Woods” with producer Jack Antonoff. Since working on 1989, the two have collaborated on Swift’s albums Reputation, Lover, folklore, evermore, Fearless (Taylor’s Version), and Red (Taylor’s Version).

During the Grammy Pro listening session, Swift played the first voice memo she ever made of “Out of the Woods.” Before playing the demo, Swift explained that her songwriting process for “Out of the Woods” was “different” than other songs.

“I’m not used to writing to track. I know it’s done in pop music all the time, but I’ve never written that way,” Swift told the live audience.

Swift detailed that right before she boarded a plane, Antonoff sent her the track for “Out of the Woods.” While flying, Swift ended up writing most of the song and recorded it for Antonoff.

“And I was actually on a plane. I got it, and I got on a plane. And I’m listening to it, and I’m just like listening to it and like mumbling melodies. Because the song came to me immediately like in full,” she said.

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‘Out of the Woods’ is a standout track on ‘1989’

The Recording Academy compiled an oral history of 1989 after it won Album of the Year at the 2016 Grammy Awards. In the article, engineer Laura Sisk revealed what the making of “Out of the Woods” was like.

“I worked with [producer] Jack Antonoff on three songs, ‘Out Of The Woods,’ ‘You Are In Love’ and ‘I Wish You Would.’ It was just Jack and I in the studio for a lot of the tracking. Especially on ‘Out Of The Woods.’ He and Taylor were collaborating long distance and would send ideas back and forth rapid-fire. The songs came together really quickly. There was a lot of excitement surrounding the music,” said Sisk.

She continued, “When we got Taylor’s vocals for ‘Out Of The Woods,’ I couldn’t stop listening to it. I love the chorus so much and when her background vocals kick in at the end, it brings this anthemic feeling to the song that you can feel even just a cappella.”

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Why Taylor Swift made ‘1989’

Before releasing 1989, Swift was primarily known as a country artist. The 2014 album marked Swift’s ascent as a pop star. The Recording Academy‘s oral history of 1989 details why Swift decided to make the album.

“I woke up [one morning] at 4 a.m. and I [decided the album is] called 1989. I’ve been making ’80s synth pop, I’m just gonna do that. I’m calling it a pop record. I’m not listening to anyone at my label. I’m starting tomorrow,” Swift said.

She continued, “I liked the idea of collaborating. But with 1989 I decided to narrow down the list. It wasn’t going to be 10 producers, it was going to be a very small team of four or five people I always wanted to work with, or loved working with. And Max [Martin] and I were going to oversee it, and we were going to make a sonically cohesive record again.”

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